Mary Beard has written up a very stimulating and clear discussion of theories of laughter, which I encourage all readers to have a look at. It does a nice job summarizing some of the main lines of thought on a tremendously difficult subject – one that, in my opinion, philosophers neglect all too often, especially given its historical significance as being considered an essential activity that differentiates humans from other animals. I suspect that this is a case, however, in which Occam’s Razor doesn’t easily apply – attempts to reduce to a single overarching law of laughter are insufficient, but perhaps this is in part because the term ‘laughter’ lies somewhere between the general and the specific. Would ‘humour’ work better, I wonder?
Monthly Archives: July 2014